Mission: Impossible – Fallout (***)
By Jon Waterman
Summary – A terrorist cell led by the mysterious, faceless John Lark have acquired three plutonium cores. Their goal is to detonate them simultaneously to cause unimaginable havoc and essentially reset the world. It’s up to Ethan Hunt and his team to recover them quickly and take down the ringleader, if he can find him.
Hunt. Ethan Hunt – Probably the most important thing to note is that even though this is the sixth movie of the series, it isn’t cheesy. It isn’t hokey. It isn’t laughable and it hasn’t shown signs of being that way since #3. That’s impressive and makes me think that the MI films could go the way of Bond if Tom Cruise ever decides to age or relinquish the role to another actor with a hidden death wish. However, just because it’s handled with sincerity doesn’t necessarily mean it is great.
Free Falling – What hurts the film is the story, but not to a large degree. There are no real surprises to this spy thriller. You know what to expect, and so it’s just a matter of when it will happen or when that person will be revealed to be the person you always knew they were. There are a few tropes that usually accompany lazy filmmaking, like the race against time, that do appear here. Yet, despite that and the long running time, the movie isn’t boring and it’s never not fun. That’s mostly due to the action.
Sixth Time’s the Charm – I greatly appreciate that there is very little reliance on computer graphics for the exhilarating scenes. So much is done as a practical effect and with real props and vehicles, which goes a long way. Stunts are less of a thing this time around. There’s some skydiving at the beginning that isn’t as thrilling as it should have been, and there’s the infamous ankle breaking roof jump, but nothing like climbing the side of a glass building or holding onto an airplane like in the past two movies. The car chase was good, but nothing we haven’t seen before. I think my favorite sequence was the bathroom fight scene. I miss that kind of martial arts choreography and this scene with Liang Yang reminded me of when Jet Li hit the US scene in “Lethal Weapon 4.”
Biggest Standout – Sound design is an odd choice for this section, but it’s true. There are a couple times where either the musical score, silence, or other minimalist tactics are used to emphasize the action (or emotions of the characters during the action) instead of drowning everything out with explosions, shots, and sound effects.
Biggest Disappointment – It was too predictable. That didn’t ruin anything for me, but I wanted so badly to be surprised and it never happened and was never close to happening.
Is It Worth Watching Again? – This team has chemistry, and it shows. The filmmaking is solid enough that it takes a lot of standard elements and makes it a worthwhile and entertaining movie. I don’t think I’d watch a lot of sixth films in a series more than once, but Mission: Impossible could break that with the right mood.
Running Time: 147 min
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames